Indiana has floodway, floodplain mapping for more than 18,000 miles of rivers and streams
Most Indiana farmers understand that managing water resources is essential to producing a good crop and sustaining the environment. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides farmers with information to help with floodplain and water projects.
Indiana’s Flood Control Act (passed in 1945) and Drainage Code (passed in 1966) have long provided the framework and requirements for performing construction activities within the floodways of Indiana’s rivers, streams and lakes. Typical examples of floodway projects subject to DNR review and approval include:
•Fill, excavation and/or land grading
• Bank stabilization
• Construction of bridges and private access crossings
• Construction or reconstruction of buildings
Floodways exist for all waterways even if they have not been previously mapped. Recognizing this issue, Indiana’s Office of Rural and Community Affairs, commissioned DNR’s Division of Water to complete floodway and floodplain analysis and mapping for more than 18,000 miles of rivers and streams.
This effort delivered critical public safety information and helps communicate flood risk to property owners near rivers and streams. This resource is also useful for determining if a property is located within a floodway or floodplain and if a permit is required. This and other flood mapping resources are available at www.in.gov/dnr/water/5647.htm
DNR strives to provide outreach and information to agricultural groups regarding floodway regulations and how they intersect with common agricultural practices. Earlier this year, in collaboration with Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the agencies created the Indiana Waterways portal, which allows a person to start an inquiry on what permits from DNR and IDEM are needed. An inquiry can be completed quickly by entering the location and a summary of the proposed project at www.in.gov/waterways
To date, customers have received a coordinated agency response to their inquiry within seven days of receipt.
Similarly, state and federal agencies work closely with County Drainage Boards and County Surveyors on a variety of drainage projects. When a County Surveyor or Drainage Board proposes a project, a field visit is scheduled with DNR, IDEM and the US Army Corps of Engineers to review and agree upon the project details.
Often, county drainage boards or county surveyors are contacted by private landowners who want to perform work on a legal drain that is not part of or included within a Drainage Board project. In cases like this, DNR recommends that landowners visit the “Waterways” portal or contact the Division of Water prior to beginning work to determine if a permit is needed.
More information regarding Indiana’s Drainage Code is summarized in the Indiana Drainage Handbook at www.in.gov/dnr/water/4893.htm